Wednesday 08 September 2021
  • 15 scientists from Southeast Asia have been awarded scholarships to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses at prestigious UK universities from October
  • Winners from Southeast Asia took part in global call for applications orchestrated by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for education and cultural opportunities
  • Women are traditionally underrepresented in STEM subjects globally and evidence shows the importance to science when there is greater diversity. This initiative aims to support the growth of women in STEM, create more opportunities for women to excel in the field, as well as become role models for the next generation

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, has announced the winners of its in augural global Women in STEM Scholarships Programme. 

This scholarship programme supports the global need for greater diversity in science, by supporting early-stage researchers who are female to access international study opportunities in the UK. These women can then pursue careers in STEM fields, as well as act as role models of the next generation of female scientists and engineers. According to data from the UN Scientific Education and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), fewer than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women and only 30 per cent of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.

The 15 scientists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam will be travelling to the UK in autumn 2021 to start their master’s degrees in STEM subjects. The recipients will study a master's degree in a STEM programme at Liverpool John Moores University, University of Stirling and University of Glasgow in the UK.

‘We are delighted to be able to support the career development of women in science through these scholarships, which supports closer educational collaboration and exchange between the UK and East Asia. We sincerely hope that it will prove to be a pivotal moment in the careers of these women and open doors to many opportunities in the future. We also believe these women will act as role models to the next generation of female scientists,’ said Leighton Ernsberger, Director Education and English, British Council. 

The post-graduate fully funded scholarship programme, launched globally by the British Council in partnership with 19 UK universities, is aimed at benefiting women from South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Americas who aspire to access the UK’s renowned STEM courses but lack the financial resources. It has been awarded to women with a background in STEM, who could demonstrate their need for financial support and who wish to inspire future generations of women to pursue careers in STEM.

Lizz Srisuwan from Thailand, who pursues a Master in Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University said: ‘I want to work on health policies for transgender and gender-diverse populations to alleviate health disparities and inequities. The transgender and gender-diverse population have unique health needs and are usually unaddressed in standard health care. They are usually unable to access health care for reasons such as fear of rejection, discrimination, stigmatisation, health policy barriers or legal gender recognition issues.’ 

The winners have emerged successful from a rigorous process alongside thousands of applicants to receive a fully funded study offer from one of the UK’s world-class universities that are amongst the world’s leaders in STEM subjects. Complete financial support including tuition fees, stipend, travel costs, visa and health coverage fees are provided by the scholarship, with special support for mothers and for those who need English language training. Many of the winners will be pursuing their academic ambitions in STEM at a UK university for the first time.

The second round of the Women in STEM Scholarships Programme for 2021-2022 will continue this year. Opportunities will be available to applicants from eight countries: Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Further information for potential candidates will be available on the British Council’s websites soon.

Notes to Editor

For media information please contact: 

Uraiwan Samolee
Head of Education Services (Hub Lead)

For more information on the Women in STEM scholarships programme, please visit: 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, and through broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.